Litflick: Blade Runner or Is Deckard a replicant?

Why you should definitely watch it

Blade Runner is the ultimate futuristic film noir: its dark, it’s rainy, and it’s full of colorful neon signs. The movie is based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and spawned a whole genre of science fiction which is today called “cyberpunk”. It paved the way for movies like the Matrix or 12 Monkeys, which are portraying a dystopian future.

The opening weekend showed that the worst fears of its makers had come true: the movie was way ahead of its time, people didn’t get it and critics didn’t like the story. It was simply too dark and too philosophical on so many levels. Today, the ambiguousness of the movie is one of its many beauties. It leads to all those interesting questions: Why is Gaff leaving these tiny origami miniatures all over town? What language is he speaking in anyway? What is the deal with this unicorn? Where on the roof did Roy find this white dove? And of course: Is Deckard a replicant?

I hope I don’t have to explain to most of you out there why a movie starring Harrison Ford and directed by Ridley Scott is a must-see. But I will try to elaborate and give you five more reasons why you have to watch this movie:

  • As it turns out, Blade Runner (1982) portrayed the future very accurately: it foresaw overpopulation, pollution, artificial life, operating systems that we can talk to, and video calls.
  • The Voight-Kampff-Test is actually an hommage to Alan Turing’s test to assess the ability of a machine to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to that of a human.
  • You haven’t seen smokey eyes, if you haven’t seen Pris’ smokey eyes.
  • The scene where Rachael plays the piano is one of the most philosophical moments of the movie. The new generation of replicants, like Rachael, comes with memory implants to make them emotionally stable and therefore controllable. In Rachael’s case the memories stem from her maker’s niece. In Deckard’s apartment Rachael sits down at the piano, probably for the first time.
    “I didn’t know if I could play. I remember lessons. I don’t know if it’s me or Tyrell’s niece.”, she says. This scene shows us that it isn’t only the memories that count. Rachel uses her implanted memories to play the piano, even if Tyrell’s niece maybe never touched a piano again after those lessons. Memories are what you make of them.
  • The insane final fight between Deckard and Roy, where Roy wants to “play” with Deckard a cat-and-mouse kind of game, culminates in this peaceful moment where Roy says his final words after saving Deckard’s life. “All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain.” This most beautiful line of the movie was not in the script. Actor Rutger Hauer invented the line which became famous as the “Tears in rain monologue”. Hauer’s soliloquy has been referenced in science fiction literature and pop culture ever since.

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears…in…rain. Time to die.

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